Are we alone? Answering this ageless question will be a major focus for astrophysics in coming decades. Our tools will include unprecedentedly large UV-Optical-IR space telescopes working with advanced coronagraphs and starshades. Yet, these facilities will not live up to their full potential without better detectors than we have today. To inform detector development, this paper provides an overview of visible and near-IR (VISIR; lambda = 0.4 - 1.8 micrometers) detector needs for the Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST), specifically for spectroscopic characterization of atmospheric biosignature gasses. We also provide a brief status update on some promising detector technologies for meeting these needs in the context of a passively cooled ATLAST.